A nova is an explosion from the surface of a white-dwarf star in a binary system. A nova occurs when the white dwarf, which is the dense core of a once-normal star, "steals" gas from its nearby companion star. When enough gas builts up on the surface of the white dwarf it triggers a thermonuclear explosion. For a brief time, the system can shine up to a million times brighter than normal. As long as it continues to take gas from its companion star, the white dwarf can produce nova outbursts at regular intervals.

Radio Programs

Luminous Red Novae One star born from two Thursday, September 3, 2015
Future Outbursts Setting up future outbursts Friday, July 24, 2015
Different Explosions Exploding stars with a difference Saturday, July 19, 2014
‘New’ Stars Keeping an eye on bright “new” stars Friday, July 18, 2014
Zombie Stars The night of the living dead stars Thursday, July 17, 2014
Super Origins A refugee from the planet Krypton Saturday, December 14, 2013
‘Medium’ Nova A mid-size stellar explosion Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Multiple Blasts Multiple explosions from a single star Friday, November 2, 2012

Featured Images

Superman's back story may have been inspired by an exploding star
Exploding Stars Saturday, December 14, 2013


©2015 The University of Texas McDonald Observatory